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After World War II, Los Angeles sprawled out even further into new suburbs, fueled by the construction of new freeways and arterial streets, with the streetcar network giving way before the popularity of the automobile.

This turned Los Angeles into the car-centric city it is today, with the infamous traffic jams and air pollution to go with it.

Los Angeles remained a small ranch town for several decades, passing to Mexican and then to American rule in 1847 in the wake of the Mexican–American War.

Los Angeles was immediately turned into a boomtown with the completion of railroads to the region, first the Southern Pacific Railroad from the north in 1876 and then the Santa Fe Railroad from the east in 1885, establishing the city as a railroad hub of the west.

Such is the nature of Los Angeles: because it is so spread out and its individual cities and neighborhoods are so distinct, the city is often thought of less as a cohesive whole than as a collection of disparate communities.

Even some of the neighborhoods officially within the city of Los Angeles are so well-known that they are often thought to be distinct from the city, such as Hollywood, Van Nuys, Bel-Air, and Venice Beach, which sit astride officially independent municipalities such as West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills.

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Filmmakers began arriving in the 1900s, lured by the area's climate and varied scenery, but also to flee Thomas Edison's litigious motion picture company, whose patents weren't enforced in the west. Soon, the vast majority of the world's film industry was concentrated in Los Angeles, making the city known throughout the world.

Los Angeles continued to grow, drawing waves of job seekers during the Great Depression, and by the 1940s had the largest streetcar network in the world.

World War II turned the city into a major center of wartime manufacturing, with Los Angeles briefly serving as the aviation center of the nation.

San Gabriel Valley Encompassing the suburban valley communities east of Downtown Los Angeles, as well as the forested San Gabriel Mountains to the north of the valley.

Sitting at the foot of the mountains is Pasadena, site of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.